Despite the settlement, at least two legal lessons can be taken away from the case: 1) Sensational tabloid covers, replete with screaming headlines juxtaposed next to photographs, can indeed be defamatory; and 2) tiny cover-page disclaimers won't always get tabloids like the New York Post off the hook.
This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in New York Times v. Sullivan, perhaps the most important First Amendment case in American history. In the words of the great First Amendment scholar Alexander Meiklejohn, the decision was "an occasion for dancing in the streets." Why was Sullivan so important?
Michael Rose's excavation of a court case brought against Henry Ford, long buried by the assembly line of unkosher baloney that kept that great American icon squeaky clean, has me sleepless and him on fire. I sat down with him to talk about the film he's working on that will bring this story to light.